Feeding snails and slugs to worms

Feeding snails and slugs to worms is a good way to kill 2 birds with one stone. On the one hand they can cause serious damage to any fruit and vegetable garden if they are 

allowed to feed and multiply uninterrupted. And on the other hand they make an excellent high protein food for compost worms which helps to make them nice and fat  to be an ideal bait for any freshwater fish.  In our family we are all passionate gardeners and love to grow our own organic fruit, herbs and vegetables. It's just such a pleasure to go into the garden and harvest some of the delicious homegrown produce to use for a healthy meal. But a bunch of garden slugs can reap havoc over night in a previously healthy looking vegetable patch in the backyard. They are mostly active at night and love a moist environment. So while during the day it seems that there are hardly any of those unwanted creatures in the garden they are actually hiding away in shaded places away from the sun if possible only to become active the following night. Once a population has established itself undisturbed for a year or more it becomes increasingly difficult to get rid of them. I am speaking from experience. 

We had been negligent for some time concerning the number of snails in our garden only to find that it seems to be nearly impossible to get rid of them for good. Last year we collected hundreds of them and fed them to our koi fish who enjoyed them thoroughly.    

Feeding snails to worms

But although our fish have a great appetite they couldn't finish all of the sluggards that we collected in our garden. We usually pick them up 2 to 3 times a week. The best time for this is early morning before they have hidden away for the day. 

We are running many worm farms on our property in which we compost virtually all the organic matter that enters our home one way or the other I thought that the excess slugs might make a great addition to our worms diet and a perfect way to get rid of them. Now worms eat only dead organic matter or in other words nearly anything that has once been alive and has died. 

Snail sludge in the worm binThe sludge in the worm bin
The same worm bin 5 days laterThe same worm bin 5 days later

Because worms don't have teeth they can only feed on particles that are small enough to fit into their mouth, liquified or soft enough that they can suck them into their mouth. So in order to convert the snails into worm food I put them into a food processor that I usually use to grind down large pet food pellets for my koi babies, added a little water and let the blades of the processor run for about 20 seconds. The result is a slimy sludge which I than poured into one of our worm bins. The worms in that worm bin devoured the snail sludge completely within 5 days. 

I know that the process is not something for everyone but it's a sure way to make use of those unwanted garden invaders and with the help of an army of hungry composting worms convert them into nutrient rich worm castings one of nature's best balanced plant foods. 

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